An Easy Guide to GForest

GForest, in simple terms, allows you to plant an actual tree by using GCash features within the app. It is a feature that tracks how much carbon footprint we lessen via the usage of the app.

In theory, when we use the app, we also lower our carbon emissions since we don’t need to commute or drive to the bank to deposit or withdraw; or go to the mall or to Bayad Center to pay our bills.

Ultimately, we also lessen paper waste by doing our transactions via the app. So this feature makes the use of the app “sticky” by making the user think of contributing to the environment while using the app. No other app in the country has done this and this makes it compelling.

How does GForest work?

Each feature in the app can be thought of as a carbon offset – and this is tokenized into “energy points” (EPs). As we use the app in our day-to-day activities, we also save up green energy points. These green energy points can then be collected to nurture a virtual tree.

As the virtual tree grows, you will notice that you will be able to earn enough EPs to trigger the planting of an actual tree. There are numerous locations selected by GCash, first in the Ipo Watershed, then in Alaminos, and then in Luyang for now. But eventually, we will be able to see more locations and with it more trees planted.

Partners that do the actual planting of the tree include private foundations (e.g., WWF, Biofin, Ayala Land Foundation, Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, etc.) as well as the government (via DENR).

How do we activate GForest?

Activating GForest in GCash

  1. From the main page, click on GForest. In a recent update, you may need to click Show More and look for it under the Lifestyle & Shopping Section.
  2. On the next page, you will need to opt in by clicking on “I Want to Help”.
  3. You will see some details about GForest, and at the end, you need to click on “Allow Access”.
  4. Once access is granted you will be shown the tree.

How do we generate Green Energy Points?

There are multiple use cases in the app that currently generate energy points (EPs) – pay bills, buy load, pay QR and bank transfer, and actual walking. As of a recent update, they’ve expanded this to include Online Cash-in, GSave, and Express Send. Each activity has a specific EP contribution and each EP will be credited after a business day or so.

However, there is a cap imposed on how many EPs a user can generate in a month. This is to prevent gaming the system.

GCash Transaction TypeTransaction Limits
Walking20000 steps (276g)
per day
Buy Load30 per month
Bank Transfer10 per month
Pay Bills20 per month
Online Cash-in10 per month
Send Money10 per month
Save Money30 per month
Invest Money30 per month
Book Movies10 per month

Generating via Pay Bills

Each bill you pay has an equivalent of around 250 energy points. EP can be credited at a limit of 20 transactions per month. With GCash’s breadth of billers, this is probably the fastest way you can generate EPs, especially during paydays.

Generating via Buy Load

There is a minimum amount of 100 per transaction and each purchase can net you around 100 EPs. There is also a 30 transaction limit per month. This is probably the easiest to do, and you can also pair it with the cash rebate to make it worth your while.

Generating via Bank Transfer

Again, there is a minimum amount of 100 needed to be able to be eligible for EP generation. And each transfer is also around 130 EPs. With GCash able to transfer to any bank via Instapay, this should also be straightforward enough to do. There is a cap of 10 transactions per month.

Generating via Walking

To be able to generate EPs for walking, you will need to opt-in usage of walking data from the default health app on your phone. So for IOS it would be the IOS HealthKit, for Samsung phones it would be Samsung Health, and for the other Android phones, it would be Google Fit. These fitness apps should be operational first as they provide the needed data to your GForest.

How to opt-in your health app to GCash

You need to click on the Note icon on your tree page and allow permission to link your GCash app to your respective health app.

GCash gets the walk count and generates a certain amount of EP per step generated. This is convenient for those who like to walk or run. You can generate EPs up to 20,000 steps per day.

Generating via Online Cash-in

You can now gain EPs by doing online cash-in, meaning bank cash-ins like BPI, Unionbank, or debit card cash-ins are included. There is a minimum of Php 100 before it triggers a 56g EP bubble. You can potentially get lots of EPs by just enrolling in any cash-in channel online, but it has a cap of 10 per month.

Generating via Save Money

Yes, you can now also get EPs by using GSave. Depending on the amount, it can trigger up to 131g. This is another way to generate EPs during paydays. However, there are some conditions having a minimum of Php 100 trigger amount, and a cap of 30 transactions per month.

Generating via Express Send

This is another way to get EPs now, but the minimum trigger amount is still Php 100. You can get up to 131g by just sending money. The number of times you can do this per month is also capped at 10.

Generating via Book Movies

Another way to get EPs is to use Book Movies. But there is a cap of 10 per month. Currently, Book Movies is disabled.

What do EPs look like?

Here is an example, with a mixture of walking and Pay Bills EPs. Unclaimed EPs have a lifetime of 3 days before disappearing. You need to click on it as soon as you can to prevent friends from stealing your EPs.

When do we get EPs?

There are no specific times EPs get generated, so I suggest you check your GForest regularly. The GCash app will also give your reminders to check for EPs once you miss them.

You can also see your EP generation history by going to Plant -> History.

Is there a hack to gain EPs?

No, you can only do so via the means I mentioned above. You can gain a lot of EPs by adding a lot of friends and claiming regularly.

Can we add friends to GForest?

We can add our friends to GForest and have a personal leaderboard. This encourages competition and consistent logging into the app every day. We can add a total of 300 friends.

You can steal small amounts from your friends in your friend list – a 5g-25g here and there to make your tree even bigger. If you have a lot of friends, harvesting EPs is easy as not all of them are active using GForest. However, on the flip side, your active friends can steal points from you.

Can we unfriend in GForest?

Unfortunately, there is currently no way to unfriend. Think of it instead as contributing to a whole, those EPs may not have been harvested by you because you’ve forgotten to harvest them. We should think of it that at least it was taken with the purpose of planting a tree.

To help with easing the feeling of being stolen from, I recommend adding as many friends as you can and stealing from them every day. Most of the time, there are those that will forget to log in and you can mercilessly get their EPs.

My personal leader board

What happens after you have stored enough EPs for your tree?

You can select which tree you want to be planted. You have a choice between a lot of different varieties. After planting the virtual tree, you will then get a badge signaling your support in getting an actual tree planted. I don’t think they really put your name in the tree, and nor do you get ownership of the tree. However, you do get a badge and a certificate in-app once you’ve planted yours.

Ultimately, you get to help in conserving our watersheds – a recent example is last 2019 we had rationing for both Maynilad and Manila Water due to water shortage.

I would recommend you not waste any time and plant a tree as soon as your EPs allow it. It is better to put your EPs into action than to store them and not use them at all.

What varieties of trees can you plant?

Due to a recent update, we can now choose a lot more varieties of trees. Before we were limited to Narra, Dungon, and Yakal. After a number of updates, the number of locations has increased as well as the number of varieties of trees that can be planted.

  • Socsargen
    • Coconut
  • Ipo Watershed
    • Narra
    • Dungon
    • Yakal
  • The Ayala Land Carbon Forest Alaminos
    • Igyo
    • Tibig
    • Hauili
    • Alim
  • Luyang Watershed
    • Avocado
    • Guyabano
    • Jackfruit
    • Narra
    • Mamalis
    • Molave
  • Davao Carbon Forest
    • Talisay
    • Antipolo
  • Cebu Carbon Forest
    • Taguilumboy
    • Tuai
  • Tañon Strait
    • Pagatpat
    • Bungalon
    • Bakhaw Babae
    • Bakhaw Lalake
  • Calamianes MKBA
    • Pototan
    • Tabigi

Can you plant multiple trees?

You can plant as many trees as you like, as long as your points reach them. You will be receiving a certificate for each tree you’ve planted. Here, I’ve planted another Yakal tree since my first one. I’ve also planted a Dungon.

Is there proof that there is a real GForest out there?

Yes, you can check it in the certificate you get when you plant a virtual tree.

Also, recently there was news that the 1 millionth tree has been planted.

Here is an article that documented the planting of saplings in the Ipo Watershed. Here is a press release for the coconut plantation in Socsargen. Here is another GForest press release for Luyang Watershed in Carmen, Cebu. Ayala Land has always had a program for its carbon forests in Alaminos, Cebu, and Davao (Ayala is part owner of GCash).

Does GForest contribute to GScore?

Yes, because by doing any EP generating activity you also contribute to your GScore. Ultimately, it encourages us to use GCash more often. The more you log into GCash every day, the more your GScore goes up.

Summary

We’ve seen how GForest can be a sticky feature in making sure GCash is actively used by its users and in doing so, the users can contribute to green initiatives. By doing these activities, we can generate energy points (EPs), eventually enabling us in planting an actual tree.

We can generate Energy Points by:

  • turning on your health app and walking
  • buying load
  • paying bills
  • cashing in online channels
  • sending money
  • saving money
  • patronizing green merchants
  • using book movies
  • transferring to any bank in GCash

An actual tree is planted by WWF or by a foundation partner once we have enough EPs stored and we use it to plant a virtual tree. This would help in reforestation and we would be helping communities in those areas to become more sustainable as well.

If you’d like to learn more about GCash, I created a how-to on the basics of GCash.

Here is a list of links if you’re interested in the main GCash features:

63 thoughts on “An Easy Guide to GForest”

  1. I hope there will be features to delete friends, especially those who steal and do not actively use GCash (hence you can’t still anything)

    Reply
    • I hope you guys would enable the deletion of friends. I was surprised that the first time I used Gcash, some people who I didn’t know were added to my friend list

      Reply
      • Agree! I accidentally accepted a request from someone I don’t even know. I saw a request, clicked to check who it was, and was surprised na lang to see that accepted na yung request. 😠 There should be an option to delete “friends”.

        Reply
        • Agree as well, this happened to me. I don’t know why that person was added. I can no longer collect my energy. I don’t know how that happened, I thought there’s now a limit on the energy that others can collect. Now I don’t use my gcash anymore since I am not the one who is collecting the energy.

        • You can still collect your energy as it doesn’t go to zero. If you don’t use your GCash, then it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that you won’t be able to get your energy. I recommend you add as many friends as you can so that you can also steal from them. Most of the time they don’t even collect their EPs.

    • Have you added any friends? That’s how I know there are EPs at 1pm. I steal from them (usually different people) twice a day.

      Try not getting the EP for walking for a day. Compare with EP from walking gathered the next day.

      Reply
  2. I was confused about the basis of this EPs for walking because a friend of mine could get double digit EPs and her maximum EP for walking so far is 200g+

    And by the way I already have 4 friends on gcash forest. I am recently overtaken by my friend because she gets higher EPs from walking while I only get 1g or 6g only that is pretty unfair hahaha walking the entire day only to get 1g by tomorrow haha

    Reply
  3. I’m having issue with gforest friends. It is intermittently missing and I tried the basis TS already like clear cache and data, uninstall/reinstall app, update app, reboot but still the same issue persist.

    Reply
    • Sometimes I get that too, but it seems to only happen once per login. After going to GCash Forest, try going back to the main menu. Then go back to GCash Forest. Most of the time that resolves my missing friend list.

      Reply
    • Right now there is no way to delete friends. But there is a way to prevent them getting your energy.

      You just need to get your energy before 8am and before 2pm. EP owners have an hour to get their energy before anyone can steal from them.

      Reply
      • “Friends” i do not know get energy from my account. Can you delete this feature immediately? It’s kinda creepy. They’re more active than me. Isn’t this part of data privacy?

        Reply
        • In the first place, they wouldn’t be friends with you in GCash Forest if you didn’t add them. Anyway, you can always steal from them too.

      • In your transaction limit chart, send money says 10 per month.. but in Generating via Express Send section, it says it is capped by 30 per month

        Reply
      • I hope the feature for deleting friends will be available soon. Stealing energy is not a good encouragement for earning points to help the forest. EP owners are the ones who take time in participating in the gcash activities/transactions.

        Reply
        • Unfortunately, I asked that already and they said that they will not be providing that feature at all. Most of the time for me, I get to steal from people who don’t really get the EPs. If it matters enough for you, then I would suggest setting an alarm every day to be able to get your EPs first.

  4. There should be an option to delete friends. I didn’t know they could steal points from you. Though it was just a way to see how they are doing with their “forest”. Just makes me pissed off with them—the app also.

    Reply
    • I think there is a grace period of 1 hour after EP generation before stealing can happen – which is 7-8AM and 12-1pm if i remember correctly.

      If they could steal from you, you can also steal from them. I suggest you don’t get mad, get even. A lot of the EPs I got came from my friends, especially those who don’t open GCash Forest at all.

      Reply
      • Agreed, they can’t get your entire EP’s just a small piece of it, so instead of complaining, go use your share earlier to plant trees. They stealing your EP’s maybe because you’re not serious of using it to plant a tree and others are taking it. If they can, you can either no big deal.

        Reply
  5. Just recently, I havent receive a Cash In Bubbles. Everytime I used to pay bills, initially, I cash in first and then pay bills. Only the Pay Bills bubbles appears.

    Reply
    • How do you do your cash-in? Is it via online channels like BPI/Debit card? Actually, lately I’ve noticed that too. Also debit cards were down for a while. I’m currently finding out whether this is an issue or not.

      Reply
  6. To save myself from trouble of having to constantly watch and get my points before they are taken away and start the day on a bad mood, I’m going back to paying my bills through BPI online or other channels. Why can’t they add an unfriend option?

    Reply
    • Yeah, there is no way to unfriend someone unfortunately. Can’t you reconsider? It is still a way to plant a tree indirectly by just paying bills. You can make use of the grace period of 1 hour (6-7AM) and (12-1PM) every day where you are safe from other people stealing from you.

      Reply
        • Yeah, definitely my fault since I wrote about it. I confirmed with help support, apparently there is no grace period at all

  7. I am using GCash Pay Bills but EPs are not generated. It is generating for some time but after some days it is not generating anymore.

    Reply
    • When I checked the support page, there is actually a cap on paying bills to prevent users from gaming the system. For Pay bills there is a max cap of 20 times per month. Maybe you’ve reached that?

      Reply
  8. Hi there! I never saw EP bubbles in my GCash. That’s despite me having lots of transactions almost everyday (online cash-ins, Buy Load, GSave, GInvest, Pay QR). All those transactions are P100 and up. I also check GForest every 7am and 1pm.

    Do you think there could be an issue with my phone’s compatibility with the app? I was bothered because Samsung Health won’t install due to compatibility issues (was about to install it to count my steps for GForest). So I was thinking maybe GForest won’t work on older phone models. I have a Samsung J1.

    Can you please share any thoughts on this? Am I the only one experiencing this hahahaha. Thanks and more power to your blog 🙂

    Reply
    • Just to add, I don’t have GForest friends yet (known or unknown) so I didn’t consider stealing as a possibility.

      Reply
      • The Samsung Health issue is only related to walking EPs so your issue should be limited to that. But the other transactions should be generating EPs. There were no EPs, not even once? Maybe you had some EPs in the start of the month, then reached the monthly limit.

        Reply
        • Not even once did I see an EP bubble. I started using GCash just this July 1st. Anyway, thank you for your reply. I’ll try to monitor the EPs again by next month to see if it’s a monthly limit issue.

  9. I hope you guys would enable the deletion of friends. I was surprised that the first time I used Gcash, some people who I didn’t know were added to my friend list. I use my gcash rehularly nd all they do is steal from me and i dont even know them or accepted them as friends..

    Reply
    • Unfortunately there won’t be any deletion of friends. This is why there is a couple of grace periods every day. What you can do is you anticipate them instead of being reactive. Set an alarm and take from them instead.

      Reply
      • It just feels bad that people get to steal from you without you knowing it. It’s somewhat showing other people’s true colors even in just the simplest things.
        I hope we can delete added people in GcashForest

        Reply
        • It’s part of the feature as it incentivises people to login everyday and to regularly claim their (and their friends’) EPs. There is no money involved, I don’t understand why this is a big deal. Even if people steal from you, you can eventually reach the EP required to plant a tree as long as you login and check everyday.

          I suggest not to get mad, just get even. Set an alarm everyday and steal from your friends instead.

  10. I’ve paid bills and sent money several times but have never received EPs from those transactions even once. I also connected my health app to my phone but GCash only gives me 6-7g despite me completing the required 20,000 steps per day. I read through the comments and saw another user experiencing the same thing (my phone is a Samsung A8 2015 and I’m using Samsung Health). Any idea why this is happening?

    Reply
  11. Surprised to see I accepted a friend on gcash but I can’t remember accepting anyone. I hope friend deletion will be available on gcash forest, what’s the purpose of competing with another person on growing trees are for? I dont think that’s meaningful when one works out for the points only to be stolen. Hope you can revisit this feature.

    Reply
  12. I hope they can have a feature to choose from example
    friends to just view your gforest
    get energy bubbles with your permission, get your energy bubbles within a specified time only ( 1 – 2 hours max )

    Reply
    • Yes because they can only plant only a certain time in a year, and the saplings are limited in number too. You can always save up points so that you can buy trees when they become available.

      Reply
    • Agree with adding ‘delete friend’ option. I accidentally accept this “friend” in gcash. She is the only one I have, but she is constantly stealing energy points from me. GCash said, to get even, we have to steal from them. It’s stealing, I don’t have the nerve to steal from her even if its the energy point only. It is still STEALING. Seriously, GCASH is suggesting STEALING?

      Reply
      • Yes, it’s a game. And voluntary at that. You can always choose not to play. I on the other hand add as many people as I can because I know that not everyone gets their EPs. And I’ve planted a couple of trees because of that. Better to get their EPs than to let it go to waste.

        Reply
  13. Have the delete friend option. I cant confront my friend bec she might think “energy lang naman yan?” But for me I earned it and i want to use what i earned to plant trees. So thats a bummer

    Reply
    • For me, what I do is I get even. I get a lot more from my friends than what I can get on my own. And if you have a lot of friends, it adds up because not everyone really gets theit points everyday.

      Reply
  14. I am currently waiting in the energy in gforest. I had nemurous transaction almost 3 days ago but no energy has been updated to my gforest.

    Reply
  15. So I got a push notif from GCash. I went to open it since not all of it showed up, then this guy named RUDOLPH REGINALD who I don’t know got added as a friend in GForest. Not only does he steal from GForest, he also keeps randomly requesting money via GCash push notif. I’m sure there’s a privacy breach here, since he knows my number while I can’t do anything as I don’t have his number or full name. Currently trying to find a way to disable GForest since an advocacy that promotes stealing and privacy breach is unacceptable.

    Reply
  16. I emailed Gcash support if it’s possible to receive EPs from Pay QR. But the table they gave me doesn’t include it. Are you sure that you can get EPs from Paying via QR to any merchant? This might be misinformation if it’s really not credited. Thank you

    Reply
    • You’re right, before it was mentioned on the help site that Pay QR was included, but for green merchants only. Will be editing the post.

      Reply

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